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Dragonfly Conversations Podcast

Welcome to the Dragonfly Conversations podcast! Through this podcast series, hosted by Dragonfly's Kevin Matteson, we seek to share the inspiring stories of amazing people making ecological and social change in their local communities. Thanks for listening and we hope you enjoy.

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  • Dragonfly Youtube page

1: Chris and Lynne Myers, Founders of Project Dragonfly at Miami University - The Origin Story

Chris and Lynne Myers

Chris Myers and Lynne Born Myers are the founders of Project Dragonfly. Through their out-of-the-box thinking, they have created a master’s program that is now the largest at Miami University and also the largest in the world dedicated to social and ecological change. This is an engaging, in-depth conversation for anyone interested in the origin story of Project Dragonfly. You will hear about Chris and Lynne's early field work in Baja and Borneo, the children's books they wrote together, their National Science Foundation grants, and the creation of Dragonfly, the first magazine to feature the scientific investigations of children alongside research scientists. This podcast will also discuss their collaborations with many zoos, botanical gardens, and individuals and organizations dedicated to international conservation 

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2: Jennifer Redmond, Project Dragonfly Alumna - An Optometrist’s Journey into Raptor Conservation

Jennifer RedmondJennifer Redmond is a 2022 graduate of Project Dragonfly’s Advanced Inquiry Program with the Denver Zoo. Jennifer works as an optometrist for her day job, but on weekends she serves as a raptor ecologist with the Raptor Education Foundation in Brighton, Colorado. In this episode, Jennifer discusses her conservation experience with kestrels, a species for which she has set up dozens of nesting boxes, monitored them for birds and chicks, and banded individuals to track geographically and over time. Jennifer is excited about getting kids to interact with nature, and she is an exceptional model of pursuing and sharing one's passion for conservation biology.

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3: Laura Abondano, Professor at Project Dragonfly - Anthropology, Primatology, and Wooly Monkeys.

Laura Abondano profile imageDr. Laura Abondano is a Visiting Assistant Professor (VAP) with Project Dragonfly at Miami. She’s just wrapping up her first year and is now with Dragonfly working full time as an instructor. Originally from Colombia, Laura is a primatologist and received her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin. A lot is covered in this episode: her excitement over her first Earth Expeditions this past summer, the origins of her interest in anthropology and primatology, and her studies with spider monkeys and woolly monkeys. Laura discusses her research into the sexual behavior of woolly monkeys and how it has led her to question some of Darwin's assumptions about sexual selection as a factor in evolution.

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4: Julia Walz, Woodland Park Zoo - Life as Teacher, Zookeeper, and Learning Coordinator

Julia Walz profile pictureJulia Walz is the Learning Coordinator for the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington. Kevin recently visited with Julia and other Woodland Park Zoo staff to discuss regional conservation initiatives in the Northwest and human / predator interactions, including such species as bears, mountain lions, and orcas. In this episode, they explore Julia’s background as a high school science teacher and community college instructor, her experience as animal keeper (primarily working with primates), and her passion for hiking and the great outdoors.

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5: Agnes Kovacs, Brookfield Zoo - Course Experiences, Grad Education, and 15 years of Dragonfly.

Agnes Kovac profile pictureAgnes Kovacs is the Senior Manager of Graduate Programs at Chicago Zoological Society--Brookfield Zoo. Agnes has decades of educational experience, with her students ranging in age from elementary school groups, to teacher workshops, to graduate learners. As Project Dragonfly and Brookfield Zoo approach the fifteenth anniversary of the Advanced Inquiry Program, Agnes and Kevin discuss the uniqueness and flexibility of this degree, the guest speakers and field trips she facilitates for her classes, the value of urban rooftop gardens for insect biodiversity, and the real-world impact of students' master plans on conservation and sustainability both locally and globally.

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